The Paradox of Beauty




To know beauty in anything is to know its opposite. How can we determine what or who is beautiful without determining what is ugly, distasteful or unpleasant. It is easy to be grateful for the things we find to be beautiful to the eye, to the touch, to the smell, to the ear, and to our tastes. Yet to know these things, we must also be appreciative to what brought us those wonderful sensations to our senses. Our senses are pulled in many directions each and every day and through our senses we are making judgments according to our likes and what we dislike. Many of times our daily judgments happen nearly automatically, but bring us to only acknowledging what is good, bright and fresh, while dejecting what is not.


The same goes to those only seeking what is light in the things and people around them, while ignoring what is dark, shadowy and chaotic. When we seek balance in our lives, we judge less and accept more. We have both light and dark polarities inside of us and whatever are our weaknesses, they mustn’t be ignored, but embraced for what they are. They are our reminders of what needs our attention to be made better… our stepping stones to success. To judge one person, or one thing to be more beautiful than another, is like judging something of ourselves to being less as well.


We need to look more inside of ourselves and know that we are beautiful and accept the parts of ourselves that are less than perfect. We don’t need to subjugate ourselves to negative self-sabotaging name-calling. We simply need to accept that within our own imperfections are also perfections. And when we balance what is inside of us, we then realize how much more complete and whole we really are.


In Mark Nepo’s recent newsletter (Knocked Off Our Horse), he asked this:  “Describe a time when you felt judged without compassion and how it felt to be reduced to the one mistake you made. How did this affect the relationship?” Questions such as this requires truthfulness and honesty and provides us with a lot of insight to how we think about ourselves and the world around us. How we feel will determine how we perceive things and many times we are too quick to act because we are thinking less. We can ask ourselves probing questions like Mark’s, and when we do, we must be prepared for what we may discover of ourselves. We have compensated so much in our daily lives that we may not realize the beauty we have passed by in favour for something quick and gaudy.


The next time you discern something or someone that is of beauty, try to remember something recently that was ugly that gave you something to compare or judge by. Sometimes what we find to be ugly, will be beautiful to someone else. Trying to see the beauty in what we think is unpleasant or ugly is one of our greatest challenges, but not one that is impossible to reach with determined effort.


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